"GOOD" Bacteria, "BAD" Bacteria
- on November 8, 2010
- The Culprit: Antibiotics, IBS, Tummy Trouble
- The Cure: Probiotics
- The Prevention: Prebiotics and Probiotics
You've probably dreaded picking up your own antibiotic, or ended your child's antibiotic early because of diarrhea. Then the doctor and pharmacist throw around a bunch of fancy words and something about diarrhea, which we ALL understand! The bottom line is that antibiotics kill your bacteria- good AND bad.
The "good" bacteria in your gut is what keeps your system healthy and regular. The "good" bacteria in a woman's reproductive tract is what keeps the ever present yeast at bay, which is why some women get yeast infections during or after antibiotic treatment.
THE SCOOP Prebiotics are the fuel the good bacteria need to survive. They can be found in many common foods such as bananas, oatmeal, and garlic. Too many prebiotics can cause gas and bloating though so don't over do it. Probiotics ARE the good bacteria. You might have heard terms like acidophillus, lactobacillis, & bifidobacterium. The label on the front of the package might just say "probiotics", so read the ingredients to see which you are getting. They are all very useful, but if you are trying to treat a specific problem you might consider the type of probiotic it contains.
Some differences: Lactobacillus (acidophillus or GG) is mainly helpful to restore vaginal flora, and prevent & treat vaginal yeast infections, but also is beneficial to gastrointestinal health. Bifidobacterium (longum, infantis, or bifidum) is mainly helpful to restore gastrointestinal health. This can be helpful to restore regularity, improve symptoms of IBS, and treat diarrhea especially associated with antibiotic use.
There are many different blends available, so how do you know which one to choose? Some are refrigerated behind the pharmacy counter, some are over the counter, and aren't there some in yogurt? Yogurt usually contains about 1 billion cultures and may interact with your other medication. Supplements usually contain around 10 billion cultures. Yogurt is a good source of good bacteria from a "prevention" point of view, but for "treatment" you'll likely need something stronger. Plus, dairy alone can cause GI disturbances such as constipation, bloating, and gas. The one's that are refrigerated, need to be, because that's how they are formulated. But this doesn't necessarily mean they are superior. Many choices are available (at Hy-Vee and other pharmacies) such as Culturelle, Align, Florajen, and Hy-Vee Brand. Culturelle and Florajen also have a pediatric formula that is safe for infants and children in the form of a powder you dump into liquid. Many of them are also gluten and dairy free.
Let's talk cost:
- Culturelle- around $20 for 30 packets, generally one a day, adult or infant
- Align capsules- around $35 for 30 capsules, generally one a day, adult
- Florajen capsules- around $12 for 30 capsules, can open for infant, generally one a day, refrigerated
- HyVee Probiotic Blend- around $10 for 90 capsules, one a day for prevention, up to 3 a day for treatment, adult
- Lactinex- around $15 for 50 tablets or 12 packets, generally 3-4 a day, adults, refrigerated
My Experience: The reason I have a new "passion for probiotics" you could say, is due to my own success. My son had terrible diarrhea with a several antibiotics before I realized the mere existence of probiotics. And when I say terrible, I mean TERRIBLE.... We had GREAT success with both Culturelle and Florjen4 Kids. Both were well worth the money to be able to successfully complete his antibiotic. Not only without diarrhea, but with normal stools. I could NOT believe the ease of success with putting one simple packet or capsule in his drink just once a day. I felt bad for him that I hadn't thought of it before. Not to mention embarrassed since, well, I recommend it for others often!! He now also has frequent unexplainable tummy aches, which one a day seems to help too. The other area of success is prevention of common female yeast infections. I have found great success in just one per day of HyVee Probiotic Blend, OR one a day of Florjen3. I have also success with treating such infection with 1 capsule 3 times per day of HyVee Blend. Of course, I recommend primary diagnosis by a physician, but if deemed appropriate, probiotics might just be the key. I highly recommend probiotics for those prone to yeast infection or gastrointestinal imbalance.
Probiotics have great benefits to those who need supplementation. They're sort of a hidden treasure like Vitamin D was for so long. I hope this information finds those who need it. Let me know of your success if this was helpful! The following are links to useful websites: link text link text link text link text link text